The Carolina Panthers quietly took their first step to long-term financial solvency, as it was reported this evening that running back Jonathan Stewart restructured his deal with the organization to reduce his cap figure in future seasons, but actually add to Carolina's cap in 2013.

According to Brian McIntyre of Yahoo's 'Shutdown Corner', the deal was done shortly following this year's Super Bowl. The restructuring does the opposite of conventional wisdom -- increases Stewart's 2013 cap hit to $3.01-million, up from $2.8-million. This is a long-term move, and perhaps the clearest sign that the organization will part ways with DeAngelo Williams this off-season, unless a massive restructure is done of the extension he signed less than three years ago.

What the deal does is commit to Stewart over the long-term. Previously there was a $9-million option bonus due in 2014, which has now been reduced to $6.88-million. This would have been the natural breaking point in his contract, but instead this is a vote of confidence in him being the team's feature back moving forward.